GSE339 How Did We Get Here?

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In episode 339 of Geekiest Show Ever, Elisa shares what got her interested in tech and what makes her a geek. We check in on distance learning with Melissa who has some stress-reducing tips for dealing with the new normal of using technology for longer periods of time.

For digitizing worksheets is a free tool for annotating PDFs online that works with Chrome and integrates with Google Drive. If all you have for source material is a smartphone photo, convert the image file into a PDF then use annotation tools to add blocks of text, shapes, lines, highlights, and other marks to digitally “write” on the page.

If you or your kiddos are struggling to sit for long periods of time in front of the computer, try keeping a small selection of quiet fidgeting tools on hand like: stretchy bands, Velcro, sequin bands, or an unplugged game controller that has buttons. Sometimes balloons can also be good for practicing deep breathing or just for stretching. Remember that it’s ok to stand up and take stretch breaks.

Try this Mindfulness Grounding Exercise called “5-4-3-2-1”

• Take a deep breath then name five things you can see.
• Take a deep breath then name four things you can touch. This is where fidgets like bands, sequins, Velcro, etc. can come in handy.
• Take a deep breath and name three things you can hear.
• Take a deep breath and name two things you can smell. It helps to keep something nearby that has a pleasant scent like a candle or even scratch and sniff stickers. You can also put some drops of essential oil onto cotton balls and seal them in a Ziploc snack bag to keep at your desk.
• Take one last deep breath then name one thing you can taste. Again, a handy snack bag that has some breath mints, Lifesavers, Tic Tacs, or other tasty treats can help in this process.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE338 What’s in YOUR Keyboard?

tools for cleaning a mechanical keyboard

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In episode 338 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss surviving the first full week of distance learning with some observations and tips. These days, we find ourselves doing a lot more cleaning and disinfecting. Now that more kids are learning from home, all those keyboards are bound to get icky! Melissa shares her hack for how to clean a mechanical keyboard.

Distance Learning Tips & Observations

• Setting up a workstation is crucial whether you’re a teacher, parent, or guardian helping to prepare a child for distance learning.
• Minimize distractions with over-the-ear headphones, preferably with noise cancellation for smaller kiddos who have ears too small for earbuds.
• Over the weekend, take some time to test out your child’s audio input and output settings. Make sure their mic isn’t turned all the way up or all the way down. Teach them how to use the keyboard shortcut for muting themselves.
• Use a decorative sheet or green screen as a backdrop to create a private space.
• Make sure the work area has plenty of light.
• Keep an eye on the thermostat and make accommodations. Children may get sleepy or irritable if it’s too hot or too cold in their workspace. Try adding a fan or a cuddly blanket.
• Take breaks up and away from the workstation and computer to do physical activities.
• Try to replicate your child’s bell schedule with an egg timer, watch, or smartphone app that makes a sound or vibration.
• Remember that you won’t be able to replicate all things that pertain to on-site learning, but you can get creative when teaching skills like staying on a schedule. A routine is good for mental health during these uncertain times.
• Check out your local communities or estate sales and ask around for tech supplies.

Look for wired keyboards, headphones, printers, and other “last year” models that people may want to discard. Many consumers want wireless these days, but going back to wired for kids can be a bit more tried and true. It also negates the need for replacing batteries or negotiating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections in what could be an already strained network.

Learn Something New

If your child is using a mechanical keyboard and has trouble typing despite being skillful, it may be time to deep-clean that keyboard. Perhaps you just need to inspect under the keys for a foreign object like a loose staple, piece of paper, or potato chip. You can take apart a mechanical keyboard by making your own key cap puller out of florist wire. Here is what a key cap puller looks like. This is a video that shows how to twist the wire into shape. Using florist wire you can skip the step of stripping the coating.

homemade key cap puller tool

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE337 Preparing for Distance Learning

Photo by John Barkiple on Unsplash

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This week Melissa is focused on retrofitting her home in preparation for distance learning. She has many thoughts and questions about what to expect when entire households are all online all at the same time.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE336 QuaranTV

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This episode we discuss the shows we’ve been watching to escape the challenges of being stuck at home. Out in Arizona, Melissa feels like she’s living in a Hobbit movie where things are on fire. Mike is excited for another celebrity spotting in South Dakota. In New York, Elisa has been knitting her way through a TV watchlist like none other, so tune in and make a checklist along with us. We are all just waiting around to Upload anyhow. 😉
Reelgood – Streaming Guide app for iOS and tvOS, for Amazon Fire TV, and for Android

Elisa’s Watch List:

Amazon Prime
Just Mercy
Modern Love
Mrs. America
Little Fires Everywhere
Apple TV+
Defending Jacob
Dear …
Uncut Gems
Schitt’s Creek
Elisa’s pick: Ancestry All Access Plan 6 months

Melissa’s Watch List:

Community Netflix
The Great Hulu
Upload Amazon Prime
Melissa’s pick:
Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner

Mike’s Watch List:

Bless This Mess  Hulu
God Friended Me  CBS
Letterkenny  Hulu
Marvel’s Runaways Hulu
Mike’s pick: Fire TV Cube

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GSE335 WWDC20 Reactions

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Apple Special Event June 2020
After watching and listening to WWDC20 demonstrations and announcements, Elisa thinks the new App Clip will be really useful. Melissa is excited for macOS and iOS to finally have some UI consistency. Mike is looking forward to kicking the tires on the new Apple CarPlay.

Here are the links we followed for our discussion:
iOS 14 Preview
iPadOS 14 Preview
watchOS 7 Preview
macOS 11 Big Sur Preview

Melissa is happy to eat her rant about the lack of adding metadata using the native Photos app in iOS 14. Though there wasn’t time to demonstrate everything in the Keynote, this would have been an amazing thing to see!! From Apple’s iOS 14 All New Features, scroll to the Photos section and you will see:

“Add context to photos and videos with captions”
View and edit captions to add context to your photos and videos, and easily find captions you’ve added in the Search tab. With iCloud Photos enabled, captions sync seamlessly across all your devices.”

Mike can be found at or
Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE334 Simply the Worst

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Last episode we discussed what makes a great design and what we liked most or felt was life-changing. This time, we’re flipping it to talk about the Terrible Product Designs We Love to Hate. How could these product designs be improved to make the world a happier place? Dealing with waste and bad design takes some thinking outside the box.

13 horribly designed everyday products that need to be reinvented” — Business Insider, May 1, 2017
10 exasperating design flaws in everyday objects” — Creative Bloq, July 06, 2018
7 Bad Designs Of Everyday Objects You’ve Become Used To” — Ed Times, June 2, 2018
Examples of Bad Design in the Real World” — Site Builder Report, July 8 2015
The guy who invented USB finally admits it’s annoying to plug in” — Digital Trends, June 24, 2019
The Pros and Cons of Switching to a Shampoo Bar” — Mind Body Mastered, February 11, 2020

Our Picks



Mike can be found at or
Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases with links on this site.)

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GSE333 Design of the Times

What is a product or service you believe is so well-designed that it makes life easier to navigate? We share our gratitude for design by discussing our top-of-the-list, favorite products inspired by an article Elisa found in Fortune Magazine The 100 Greatest Designs of Modern Times.

Tip: in Safari browser on iOS or macOS, you can use Reader View to cut out distractions from ads.

Our picks for what we most look forward to doing again once it’s safe outside of stay-at-home practices:
Elisa: going to concerts and hitting the beach.
Melissa: family entertainment parks such as her local Funtasticks Family Fun Park.
Mike: going out to eat.

Mike can be found at or
Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases linked in our show notes.)

You can look for and listen to Melissa in an upcoming episode of Foodie Flashback with Patrice.

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